Workshop 8 - site visit to Skanska construction site

Our final Shape My City session took a slightly different twist with the group venturing away from the architecture centre gallery to visit a Skanska construction site based nearby on Queen Square.

The aim of this session was to give the young city shapers an insight into the construction side of the built environment sector, to compliment the knowledge they have gained from previous sessions on design and placemaking.

When we arrived at 66 Queen Square we were greeted from behind the hoarding by Ben Yates and Simon Dawson, construction managers for Skanska. Simon and Ben showed us through to the site office where the group started by brainstorming their stereotypes of ‘building sites’. These included wolf whistles and a very male dominated working environment. These stereotypes were challenged through the site visit -not a single wolf whistle was heard and Ben and Simon explained how the construction industry was diversifying its workforce and how there are a huge range of different job roles within the construction sector that appeal to all sorts of people with different skills and interests.

The city shapers were keen to see behind the scenes of a live construction site, but before we donned the hi-vis jackets, Ben and Simon gave the group a bit of background to the site. 66 Queen Square is currently owned by the development arm of Skanska. Skanska is an international construction company which is currently responsible for the development of new school buildings across Bristol.
Skanska purchased 66 Queen Square as a derelict heritage building from Bristol City Council. 

Initially they had to dig bore holes to see if the site was contaminated, do lots of surveying and liaise with conservation team of Bristol City Council. The site is an 1830’S terrace of Georgian buildings and Skanska are refurbishing much of the old building and adding a modern extension to make high end offices. Work started on the site in June 2013 and the project will cost approx. £13 million over 2 years.

The design team for the project are AWW Architects and there are two distinct sides to the building which integrate with two different street scenes:
  • Queen Square side with a Bath Stone fa├žade in keeping with Georgian heritage of Queen  Square
  • Kings Street side which has to compliment the Tudor exteriors of the existing buildings

Two important elements of the development are heritage and sustainability:

       Heritage – Skanska have had to work closely with the conservation team at Bristol City Council who advise that you 'can add to a heritage building but you can’t take away'. Skanska needed to try and keep as many of the original features as possible and restore elements such as wooden beams and traditional plaster in the old part of the site. Parts of the building needed to be made much stronger – floors/ceilings in the old part of the building needed to be reinforced.

       Sustainability - as a company Skanska are proud of their green credentials, and have been named the greenest company in UK across all sectors. The Green features of 66 Queen Square include photo voltaics on the roof, reduction of air loss and the majority of the exisitng building being recycled.

The Shape My City team then donned their hi-vis jackets and were given a fascinating tour around the site exploring the restored heritage parts which will serve as stylish board rooms with views over historic Queen Square, the basement which had 18 meter deep piles driven in to the ground and the infrastructure of the new open plan office spaces.

Ben and Simon also introduced the city shapers to an important tool for modern design and construction: Building Information Modelling or BIM. BIM generates 3D digital modelling of buildings and it is changing how buildings, infrastructure and utilities are planned, designed, built and managed. Simon demonstrated BIM in action on an ipad that he took around the building, showing a digital version of 66 Queen Square, which included being able to look through walls to see hidden services. The Government has set targets for the industry to use BIM more and Skanska won a BIM award for 66 Queen Square.

Personal career stories – Simon and Ben (Construction Managers)


Simon and Ben are construction managers for Skanska, then kindly shared a bit about their career paths with the Shape My City group……

Simon liked maths at school and went on to study civil engineering as he liked the idea of not having to work at desk all the time. After graduating he worked for Kier Construction on a £25m extension of Science Museum in London, which included have to move the huge steam train exhibits!  He then then went on to work on a range of other projects: an army barracks project of 584 bedrooms, an office block in Birmingham city centre, and then on to the Skanska Bristol School programme where he worked St Mary Redcliffe School, followed by Bath Spa University.

Simon’s career advice was to 'go for what you are interested in and enjoy, and don't drift …think about what you are interested in and where you want to get to – you don’t want to find that in 10, 20, 30 years you end up thinking ‘how on earth did I end up here’ and not enjoying what you are doing’.
Simon shared that some of the more challenging parts of his job are 'relying on other people, being out in all weathers, days when concrete doesn’t arrive on time or teams of painters fail to turn up – and having to manage all these logistical elements'.

Ben initially wanted to join the air force but had asthma so he decided to study engineering and law at university. After going travelling he started work for Skanska where he has worked his way up to his current position.  Ben said the the good parts of his job are 'working with good people, the satisfaction of working on buildings like schools which impact on people’s live positively – this makes you proud and it is motivating'.

Ben shared that the down sides of his profession are that 'sometimes you have to work out in the wet and cold, travel long distances for work, and that the construction industry is vulnerable to recessions'.


  1. Advantages of Getting Parking Management Software
    There are many people who encounter daily problems with getting the parking spaces and just like the parking registrants, establishment owners having parking spaces that are meant to be rented would also encounter daily problems managing their parking spaces. Others may take this as an endless problem but what they should think about is the fact that they can already make use of parking management software that could make the entire job easier.
    The main purpose of using parking management software is to help the establishments turn their cluttered parking management into a completely managed one. Using entire system could help the entire establishment in managing the parking system and keep it organized at all times. The software is created to give people the ease of dealing with their parking management concerns and make use of the web based tools that could help in the entire process of managing the parking issues.
    Aside from those establishments working on achieving the right parking management, parking registrants could also benefit from the parking management software. Given that families nowadays own at least one vehicle and a family computer, it will be easier for them to update their parking registration at a certain establishment and make it possible to access whatever information they need with ease. They can always update their parking registration with buildings or private establishments and make sure that they always have the license in using the parking spaces.
    How the Parking Management Software Could Help?
    Many personnel in charge with the parking management in condominiums, apartments, townhouses co-ops, home owners associations and other establishments with parking would get frustrated of the fact that they cannot do their job well due to mixed names and information of the parking registrants. Most of the time, they would get frustrated of the fact that they cannot easily search for important papers or information due to the overlapping papers of registrants.
    But with the use of parking management software, the personnel can make use of an online solution that could make their job easier. It is a reinvented solution on the approach of doing parking management. All tools that are included in the software are web based which means that the personnel in charge can access whenever they want and wherever they are provided that they are connected to the internet. No paper works will be required in this process. All you have to do is to transfer all important information on the cloud storage and everything will be saved.
    The security of the files saved will not be any worry since the people you would be assigning to access the information will be the only ones who can access the files. The latest in technology are incorporated in the use of the software, which makes it easy for everyone to take advantage of all the features of the software with ease.
    If you are one of those establishment managers assigned with the parking management system, try to make use of the parking management software. Get this software exclusively from and be benefited of its features. For more details, feel free to contact
    23785 El Toro Road Suite 122
    Lake Forest, CA 92630
    call : 1-855-228-0411


Post a Comment